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Movie Review

Barbie in the Nutcracker

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Better Than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Animation Music Family Kids
1 hr. 16 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 2, 2001
Relevant Issues
Box art for “Barbie in the Nutcracker”
click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: voices of Kelly Sheridan, Kirby Morrow, Tim Curry, Peter Kelamis, Christopher Gaze, Ian James Corlett, French Tickner, Kathleen Barr
Director: Owen Hurley
Producer: Jesyca A. Durchin, Jennifer Twiner-McCarron | Exec. Producers: Rob Hudnut, Ian Pearson
Distributor: Artisan Home Entertainment

This Christmas, girls everywhere (even those below what I believe is an appropriate age for this film) will be asking for the “Barbie video.” Barbie hasn’t made it to the BIG screen yet; this was a direct-to-video release. The CGI is decent, but could have been a little more textured. Then again, if they made Barbie look and act too human, she’d no longer be identified with her doll. And the tie-in is very strong; the video even carries a $2 off coupon for a Nutcracker-related doll.

The story (actually a story within a story within a story) is an adaptation of the standard Nutcracker ballet. Clara [Barbie] and the Nutcracker are under the spell of the evil Mouse King (voice of Tim Curry) and need to be cured. They and some companions go on a long adventure to defeat the Mouse King and restore the throne to Prince Eric. During the film, there are scenes and images lifted from perhaps a dozen familiar movies.

Content Warnings

Although this film would probably have been rated G had it been submitted to the MPAA, it’s filled with witchcraft (in a long dream sequence) and features a very nasty villain who intends to burn the Nutcracker alive and who uses magic to turn his own soldiers into paperweights or lawn ornaments when they fail him. One of Clara’s companions sometimes uses what sounds like profanity, but it’s too blurred to be made out clearly.

Some of the familiar musical numbers and dances are still here. it’s a little strange to see ballet performed by computer images (however, the images were adapted from human dancers).

This film is cleaner than most of what’s out there; but caution should be used, since it’s targeted for very young audiences.

So, what new worlds does Barbie still have left to conquer? Since Mattel has bought out Pleasant Company, perhaps she’ll get her own set of American Girl storybooks (just kidding—I hope).

Viewer Comments
I found this direct to video release surprisingly enjoyable. The computer graphics are good for a release never meant for the theater. The story is a pretty good adaptation of the original Nutcracker ballet story and teaches some good values along the way. Some young kids may be a bit scared by the Mouse King, and there is some swordfighting but overall a good choice.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
Kevin, age 30